Saturday, August 29, 2009

An easy walk

So I've been trying to find a hoof protection that suited my horses and myself. Metal shoes were a must for us because our horses have to do a lot of hard work on the pavement pulling the carriage. They have to have points or borium spots on them for traction and ease of wear.
The problem was not with the rest of my horses but with Indigo. She has particularly sensitive feet. Every time she is trimmed when shes being ridden regularly I can see bruises on her hoof wall as the rasp goes over them. She is also ouchy on stones so we have to avoid uneven, rocky surfaces which can be hard down the lane.
Glue on shoes just don't stay on long enough here and hoof boots are a no go for several reasons. The first one, they are mostly made of neoprene. Neoprene provides too much traction on the roads. When a horse is pulling a carriage this can cause all sorts of problems from bowed tendons to splints from the horses leg being jarred when the rubber and pavement meet and there is too much friction. Try making a regular running shoe slide on pavement you will find it will kind of hop along if not halt immediately.
The second reason hoof boots do not work for me is sometime we have mud. Mud sucks these boots off. They may be alright part of the year but the times we do get mud we are S.O.L. Water also gets into them and does not drain which makes them heavy.
The third is even with the many gaiters and stabilizers they still rub and sometimes still fall off causing the poor horse wearing them to trip when the gaiter does not detach. Been there, done that. No thanks. I do however like renegade hoof boots I've yet to see them in person but they may be a winter option for me.

See the problem with metal shoes is they put pressure on the hoof wall. Indigo still gets stones pressed into her sole and pads are just not an option. Metal shoes, unlike the natural hoof do not flex when the horse steps on an uneven surface. It would be much like you putting on a pair of shoes that had a steel sole. You would slip and teeter as you walked across uneven surfaces, like rocks because your shoe could not flex.

When I heard of this new shoe, Easy walker horse shoes. A very nice couple named Mike and Wendy came to a local farm to show us the shoes they called "the sports shoe for horses" I was intrigued. Not only did it provide the ammount of traction I was looking for it also covered a good part of the frog and sole. There was a lot of concussion redeuced and it flexed! They can be reset about the same times and wear the same as a metal shoe.
These shoes nail on exactly like a normal metal shoe but you have two or three toe clips to keep them from sliding. A friend and farrier that I know was there named Tim. Hes an old timer and the president of the Ontario farriers association. I asked him if he would shoe my horse today with those new shoes. Wanting to try these shoes he says to me "Sydney I would climb mountains or trees for you" Hes so funny.

The application is easy. You find what shoe is your horses size, draw around the hoof on the shoe thats peeking out and either cut it off with nippers. a dremmel or saw then rasp. Simple. No making metal shoes, burning the hoof etc. Simple, easy peasy. You have to cut a small groove however for the clips to fit in good. Oh did I mention you don't take any of the sole off with the hoof knife? That sounds great to me.

Tim is a very thorough farrier. He takes a long time, longer than my normal farrier Neil but he does very impressive work. Farriery and blacksmithing is an art. I've never seen two people trim a horse the same, make the same shoes or even pound a hammer exactly the same.

The yellowjacket bees were a problem here.
Tim had a fly sheet on Indigo who was snoozing in the sun. All of a sudden she started kicking when he was with her back feet. He hollers and dives out of the way. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what had gone wrong. I didn't scold Indigo. I knew the kicks were not aimed at Tim but when you are a farrier your always trying to avoid getting "high fived" in the face. He looks at me and says "I felt the wind right by my nose there" So Indigo is still swatting her tail and we thought maybe the blanket was irritating her so we folded it in half.
He gets done trimming and starts shoeing the front feet. Suddenly she hauls off and starts kicking that same leg like crazy and swatting her tail, firing kicks left right and center. Tim dives out of the way again. I told everyone to step back because she was kicking with intent to hurt something. It clued in then that a yellowjacket had got trapped under the blanket. She went to swat it like a fly with her tail and got nailed a few times before it escaped. Poor girly! STUPID BUG!!! We took the sheet off and sprayed her down real good before continuing. She was good from here on.

Now see before we put the shoes on her I trotted her down the driveway for everyone to see her on the stone. She hit a few big stones and limped like she always does. When all four feet were shod I trotted her again. Not one step out of place over the worked up rocky driveway. I have to say at this point I was sold.
Indigo trotted with more spring in her step. They only cost 10$ more a pair than regular shoes. If you use the shoes with the pads and were comparing them to metal shoes with pads they are at par.

Excuse the mud, it's rained here hard four days in a row. I'll take pictures when we get the rest of the horses done.

This is what Indigo thinks of this whole ordeal. This picture taken by my good friend Lisa, named farty buck by me. Hey I think this fits into tomorrows Sunday stills for sound right? Cant you all hear it? Well the horse people can. Hahahha.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Oh yeah, I can hear it. Interesting shoes. Thanks for doing a post on them.

Paint Girl said...

Very interesting shoes, hope they work for Indigo!
Bee's are nasty lil buggers!! Can't stand them. Thankfully Indigo didn't get stung! Or any of you guys!

Sydney said...

Indigo did get stung a few times. I found the swellings last night after I rode. She went great in these shoes but at first when I went out on the road she stumbled because she had a little extra grip.

Jo said...

She must be ecstatic! Do you have to take them off at night? Or do they stay on all the time?

I'm impressed.

Sydney said...

They stay on all the time. They go on just like regular shoes do, nailed through the white line (insensitive laminae) and can be re-set like steel/aluminum shoes too.

HBFG said...

Interesting! thanks for posting, it seems to me though that the heels could have been trimmed down some more...
Hope your horse likes it!

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